How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near North Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near North Little Rock AR is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in North Little Rock AR labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as North Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of North Little Rock AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some North Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local North Little Rock AR health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Little Rock AR.